Child Custody for Unmarried Parent Attorneys Morris County, NJ
Serving Parents across Chester, Chatham, Mendham, Harding, Morris Township, Morris Plains, Morristown, and Morris County
Raising a child is an incredibly rewarding and fulfilling experience. As parents, we get to watch our children grow into young men and women faster than we might like. To go along with that joy is also more than enough stress and uncertainty to go around. For unmarried parents, the uncertainty of their parental rights only adds to that feeling of helplessness.
Our Morris County attorneys are here to help our clients understand their parental rights and to secure their family’s future. At Townsend, Tomaio & Newmark, our family law attorneys have over 75 years of combined experience serving unmarried parents in New Jersey. We believe in an individualized approach which includes keeping our clients both informed and involved throughout the legal process.
Call our office today for a free and confidential consultation regarding your rights as an unmarried parent or couple and how we can help you with your particular needs and concerns.
Morris Plains Child Custody Lawyers Establish Paternity
Establishing paternity is a great first step for both parents to ensure their legal rights are accounted for. For unmarried parents, the state of New Jersey offers a “Certificate of Parentage” which may be voluntarily signed by both parents declaring the legal parentage of the father. If both parents do not agree to sign the certificate of parentage, either parent may petition the courts to administer genetic testing.
Genetic testing is done at a state-approved medical facility. The results must show a minimum of 95 percent probability of parentage in order for the results to be conclusive. The cost of the tests generally falls back on the requesting party, with a handful of exceptions. Both parties have a ten-day window in which they may formally appeal the results via a written objection. This may lead to an additional genetic test at the expense of the appealing party.
Once paternity has been established, fathers and mothers have equal legal rights of parentage under New Jersey law. This means that they will be both entitled to and/or responsible for child custody, parenting time, and child support. All of these considerations are handled on a case by case basis.
Child Custody and Parenting Time Attorneys for Unmarried Couples in Morris County
As previously mentioned, unmarried parents are on equal footing when determining both physical and legal child custody. The New Jersey Family Courts maintain the position that it is best for both parents to be as involved in the child’s life as possible when feasible. If an unmarried couple with children should separate, that is handled similarly to a divorce in terms of child custody and child support. However, since there is no divorce agreement, what can parents do to protects their legal rights?
A cohabitation agreement or a child custody agreement can be agreed upon by both parents in order to establish child custody, child support, parenting time, and anything else related to a child which we normally think of as being included in a divorce agreement. With help from an attorney, it is entirely possible to draft and sign such an agreement without litigation.
If an agreement is not able to be met outside of court, the non-custodial parent (the father in many cases) can file a complaint with the New Jersey Family Court system to seek custody or parenting time. No matter what options you choose, child custody is determined by many factors, including:
- The best interest of the child
- Employment history of parents
- Child’s relationship with each parent
- Any issues with domestic violence, drug or alcohol abuse, or any other dangers or complications
- The ability of each parent to create a safe and secure home environment for the child
- Parents’ work commitments and overall availability
Contact our Morris County Parenting Time and Custody Attorneys Today
At The Law Office of Townsend, Tomaio & Newmark, our family law and divorce attorneys pride ourselves in offering a wide range of solutions for the personal needs of our New Jersey clients in Chester, Chatham, Mendham, Harding, and Morris Township. Lean on our decades of experience to provide the legal counsel you and your family need and deserve in this difficult and stressful time. We focus on bringing fast and amicable resolutions to any conflicts which may be preventing you from enjoying your time as a parent.
Our law firm practices exclusively family law, which allows our experience and knowledge to be fine-tuned to the individual circumstances of your child custody dispute. We believe in treating clients with the same respect and compassion which we would hope to receive in such a difficult and trying time. By working closely with clients, we believe we are able to produce individualized results geared towards the best possible outcome in each unique situation. Contact us online or over the phone at our Morris County office by calling (973) 840-8970 today.